The true political passion of GW students came out on Tuesday evening as neighbor and President Barack Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union Address. As the president called upon the chamber and the American people to make 2014 a year of action, GW College Democrats and GW College Republicans gathered to view and discuss the address.
“I was very pleased with a robust and solid State of the Union address from President Obama,” said College Democrats President Omeed Firouzi.
The College Republicans were quick to disagree with their peers. “He did not promote any true solutions for the future and for the many issues that this nation faces,” said College Republican President Alexander Miller. “Rather he played politics.”
During his address, the president outlined his goals for the future, which included economic opportunity, energy, and education, and warned that he will use his executive authority if Congress refuses to pass legislation.
“What I offer tonight is a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class, and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class,” said President Obama. “Some require congressional action, and I’m eager to work with all of you. But America does not stand still, and neither will I.”
GW College Republicans were not supportive of the president’s idea to use executive order. “He practically assured the American public that he has no problem circumventing Congress and the Constitution to promote his Administration’s agenda,” said Miller.
Obama argued the need for increased government support in rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, including slashing bureaucracy and streamlining the permit process so more workers can begin working. The president went on to address the Affordable Care Act and reprimand Republicans for attempting to undermine the progress it has made.
“The American people aren’t interested in refighting old battles,” Obama said. “Let’s not have another 40-something votes to repeal a law that’s already helping millions of Americans. The first 40 were plenty.”
The College Republicans did not buy it. “He [Obama] failed to acknowledge any solution to the many shortcomings of the Affordable Care Act,” said Miller.
Another key point within the address included the president asking Congress to create a proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. The president promised to release an executive order to raise the minimum wage for some government contract workers with the hope that Congress will follow suit and raise the wage for all low-wage workers in the United States.
College Democrats cheered at the idea of raising the minimum wage with Firouzi calling it, “A fundamentally good public policy proposal that would strengthen the middle class and improve the broader economy.”
At the conclusion of the address there was much discussion on whether anything would change. “In general, President Obama only promoted a continuation of failed policies,” Miller said.
There was a much different tone coming from the Democrats side of the room. “My sincere hope is that he [Obama] can achieve a lot of these goals in the coming years,” concluded Firouzi.